Fascistic Laws to Protect Fascist Speakers on Campuses

May 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


In recent months, a number of extreme reactionary “intellectuals” have been invited to speak at university and college campuses. This includes Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Charles Murray—people who promote the most racist, reactionary, Nazi-like views. Students and others have protested these events, demanding they be canceled, disrupting the speakers, and in some cases shutting them down. At UC Berkeley, hundreds of ready-to-brawl “alt-right” white supremacists, neo-Nazis, bikers, and militia types showed up to attack protesters.

These protests have been a good thing—exposing these reactionaries and taking a firm stand that their poison is NOT WELCOME on campus. Ann Coulter advocates public floggings of Black youth and says the U.S. should spy on all Arabs and televise torture. Charles Murray argues Black, Latino, and Native American people are innately inferior in intelligence. And Milos Yiannopoulos was a senior editor at Breitbart News, home of Steve Bannon’s white supremacist, anti-Semitic, woman-hating “alt-right” movement.

These protests have created huge controversy about “free speech” on campuses, and many states have passed or are considering legislation regarding campus protests. Several states are considering measures that, in the name of “free speech,” in effect protect reactionary speakers on campus and limit and punish protesters. Many of these bills—like those being considered in Wisconsin, California, and North Carolina—are based on a model written by the Goldwater Institute, a reactionary think tank. This model bill imposes penalties on those who interfere with speakers; requires public universities to remain “neutral” on political issues; and prevents them from disinviting speakers. Bills being considered in Wisconsin, Illinois, Louisiana, and Michigan that follow the Goldwater model require public colleges and universities to suspend or expel students who twice infringe the “free speech rights” of others.

Christina Berchini, a professor of teacher education at the University of Wisconsin, said about the proposed state bill that includes a requirement that public universities stay “neutral”: “I teach about white supremacy. How, exactly, does one handle such topics in a neutral way?” In fact, it ISN’T neutral for schools to be “neutral” about fascists speaking on campus. Inviting and/or allowing these fascists to speak on campus IS taking a side, letting them spew and promote their poison.

Protesters Say NO! to Pence at Western Pennsylvania Christian College

Protesters Say NO! to Pence at Western Pennsylvania Christian College

May 20—When Mike Pence gave the commencement speech at the conservative evangelical Christian school Grove City College in western Pennsylvania, about 220 people marched in protest in the town surrounding the campus. The action was organized by Slippery Rock Huddle, women from the nearby Slippery Rock University, and focused on the Trump/Pence regime’s attacks on the environment, LGBT rights, and health care. Protesters came from other small towns in the area and from Pittsburgh and elsewhere. People chanted “No ban, no wall, immigrants are welcome here” and other chants, and had signs like “Refuse Lies, Resist Greed, Resist Corruption” as well as “NO!” signs from Refuse Fascism.

A young man who was part of the protest said, “I wake up in the morning thinking there are things with this regime to be afraid of, like a full nuclear attack. [Trump] is a fascist and uses force when he has to. I am from here, and I am excited to see this many people protesting Pence.” In an op-ed that appeared in the New York Times the day before the commencement, a Grove City College student said there was opposition on the campus to inviting Pence because that “will serve as an endorsement” of Trump, and that “alumni and students flooded administrators’ inboxes with emails protesting the decision.”

For students and others trying to get at the truth, debate and the principle that the most ardent advocates of ideas should be heard is very important. But this cannot be treated as an “absolute.” In a world divided into antagonistic classes with profound relations of oppression and exploitation, there is not an “even playing field.” The ideas of the reactionaries like Coulter have backing from hundreds of years of oppressive tradition—and from the fascist regime now in power in Washington. All kinds of platforms are available to those spouting such oppressive shit. In contrast, it is the students and others protesting the fascists who need to have their right to speak protected.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution mandates the protection of the rights of the people to speak and assemble free from government suppression—not the right of those backed by and tied to the government to be “protected” from protest. But the issue here is NOT “free speech.” The real issue is FASCISM—and the right and responsibility of the people to resist and drive fascists out of power in this country before it is too late.

Trump has incited violence against protesters and he and his fascist cabal are now trying to demolish the right of people to speak against and resist the crimes of this fascist regime. The venom from people like Coulter, Yiannopoulos, and Murray is an extreme expression of the views the fascist Trump/Pence regime is trying to impose on all of society. And these reactionary ideas serve to concretely reinforce and encourage harmful social policies.

It is good people are protesting and trying to shut down reactionaries speaking on campuses. And there are big stakes here. The right of people to stand up against fascism is under attack. And if the fascists succeed in enforcing such fascistic repression on campuses, it will contribute to their consolidating fascism and suppressing opposition nationwide.

There must be determined struggle against any attempts to suppress protests against reactionaries on campus, and this fight needs to be part of DRIVING OUT the fascist Trump/Pence regime.


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